Foreign clients move Rs 25 lakh crore away from Swiss banks

As India steps up its pressure on Switzerland in its black money pursuit, foreign clients' funds worth 350 billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs 25 lakh crore) have left Swiss banks in the past six years.

While there are no specific data for money that could be of Indians, this includes outflows to the tune of 100 billion Swiss francs that are related to fine payments in the context of declaration of untaxed money, as per a new study by PwC.

The study, conducted by the Swiss unit of global consultancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has analysed annual reports of 90 private banking institutions in Switzerland, as also the other public data including that of Swiss central banking authority SNB.

"We estimate that around 350 billion Swiss francs in net assets under management from foreign-domiciled private clients have left Switzerland in the last six years," PwC said.

"Overall, we estimate that up to 100 billion Swiss francs net new money outflows are related to fine payments in the context of the declaration of untaxed money," it added.

This leaves outflows to the tune of 250 billion Swiss francs from accounts of clients that have ultimately terminated their relationship with banks in Switzerland and transferred their money back to their home countries or to another financial centre, the study found.

Switzerland has been facing intense pressure from various countries, including India, in the recent years amid a global crackdown on the famed secrecy walls of Swiss banks, which are perceived to have made them safe haven for black money.

The Alpine nation has been forced to revise its tax treaties with India and many other jurisdictions to enhance its information exchange framework, resulting in a major outflow of client money from Swiss banks.

As per the latest data from Swiss National Bank (SNB), foreign clients' money in Swiss banks declined to a record low of 1.32 trillion Swiss francs (over Rs 90 lakh crore) during 2013. However, Indian clients' money in Swiss banks rose by over 40 per cent during the year to nearly Rs 14,000 crore after decline for past few years.

The quantum of Indian funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 6.5 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2006, but it declined by more than 4 billion Swiss francs after four straight years of fall till 2010.

SNB's official figures, however, does not include the money that Indians or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.

India has also constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe cases of alleged black money of Indians, including funds stashed abroad in places like Switzerland.

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